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Friday, August 19, 2011

Notes from the E-Revolution

I've found a theme song for the E-Revolution: Make It Up As You Go by the Plain White T's.


I'm partial to the whole Wonders of the Younger album, especially the title song, which is a ballad to kidlit, if I ever heard one!

Moving on ...

E-Readers for Kids
While on vacation, I took a quick tally at the airport: 2 iPads, 2 Kindles, 1 Nook, and 4 paperbacks (just in two rows). There's nothing like travel to bring out the e-readers! In fact, my Nook was in high demand during our trip. Last year, each of the boys brought their own (paper) books on vacation, and I encouraged them to try a Nook book as well (and loaded the Nook with several for myself). This year, we had a lot of driving to do, and with four people reading at once, we had to bring paper books. But the kids complained - they ALL wanted to read on the Nook.

Worm Burner (10yo) has started a campaign to get me to upgrade to a Nook Color like Grandpa has (darn him!), so I'll hand down my Nook to him. "It will be the boys' Nook," he argues, knowing that I like it when they share. After a week of passing the Nook around in the car, and having to fight Dark Omen (12yo) for it, I'm starting to see the merits.

Which makes me think that a boom in e-books for Middle Grade can't be far behind.

Laura Pauling said as much in her post, where she speculates that parents upgrading their e-readers this Christmas will hand down their old e-readers to their kids ... and a increase in MG e-books will result.

On the Kindle Boards (the trenches of the E-Revolution), there was a great thread on the possibility of a surge in MG e-books. Will Pottermore put more e-readers in kids hands? Or the fact that Toys R Us is now stocking Kindle in their stores?

(BTW, have you gotten your e-owl? I'm still waiting for mine. I'm such a Muggle.)

E-books ... coming to a middle grader near you.

Back-to-School Supplies: Don't forget your e-reader!
I posted about the 900 iPads that will soon be in the hands of 3rd-6th graders in two schools in my district (low-income schools that won a grant). It will be interesting to see how teachers adapt and use that technology to teach, but textbooks are already finding their way to iPad (via Inkling).
Gartner analyst Allan Weiner says Inkling's major challenge is getting schools and professors on board. "Students buy the texts their professors recommend to them," he says. He thinks it will take about five years for students to fully make the switch from analog textbooks to digital.
My hairdresser is an early adapter who has been taking her online college classes on her iPad since it came out. Anytime I see a prediction like above, about the E-Revolution, I cut it in half (at least). So, expect to see e-textbooks become the norm in about 2 years.

The speed of the E-Revolution continues to amaze me. But technology revolutionizes every industry that it touches. Publishing is no different. Ten years from now, when my kids are all in college, hunched over their e-textbooks and collaborating with students in China via holographic Google+chat, I'll be ... doing e-signings and sending them virtual care packages.

What do you imagine the future will hold?




25 comments:

  1. I do see highschools switching over to iPads for text books. Yet, everyone said that about computers too and it never really happened. Though tablets are cheaper than computers so maybe it will happen. It will be interesting to see.

    And my comment about Christmas time is a projection based on what others say. I know, personally, I have no desire to buy my kids ereaders. we still get all our books from the library. And so do most people I know. I don't know when that will change. :)

    Thanks for the link.

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  2. Kids here are getting iPads through schools...and our public and school libraries have Nooks. I think ereaders will hit the mg market big-time at Christmas and if I'm right, I'm also going to be ready for it...working fanny off on third mg ebook RIGHT NOW. :) I'd heart this post even if I wasn't into epublishing.

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  3. I do think we'll see a surge sooner than later. Once ereaders in schools become more and more normal, the MG market will really take off.

    Great post!

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  4. A. I LOVE Plain White T's. B. I keep thinking of a story my friend told me a few days back. She was on vacation and brought a book to the pool. An older woman was there with her Kindle. The woman looked over and asked, "Is that a book?" My friend looked at it and was like, "It's got a cover, and pages, and I even brought a bookmark!" (of course, I mean she's my friend after all) But even the woman was like, "I don't know why I asked that." SCARY STUFF. How soon we forget!

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  5. Excellent post on e-books and the possibilities for more MG books. I'm really glad parents are going to encourage the natural tendencies of kids to embrace technology by passing down the e-readers. I know right now they are afraid to buy them new ones because of breakability with rough treatment. I hope someone comes up with a really tough, stand up to "kid" treatment, e-reader for kids.

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  6. I have no doubt in my mind that many, many kids will soon have ereaders. After all, they grew up on computers.

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  7. We're piloting Ipads in our international school this fall with the goal that every kid from K-12 will have one within the year.

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  8. We haven't even begun to see the e-reading revolution, until kids get on board. Think cell phones.

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  9. Interesting point about observing reading habits in airports...I'll have to do that next time. So long as everyone's reading I'm thrilled:)

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  10. @Catherine I really don’t think we need a rugged ereader for kids – think of all the technology they handle all the time. We don’t hesitate to put ipods, game players and phones in their hands. Why hesitate with e-readers? Even the cost is similar. But it won’t be long before people realize there’s no difference.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. @Joanna Wow, that's awesome! I'd love to see a post on how your teachers are using them! :)

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  12. @Mark I always check what people are reading, wherever I go. I'm nosy that what, plus it's a great way to strike up a conversation. But the downside of e-readers: you can't tell what people are reading! (Of course, this is a plus for those who like bodice-rippers.)

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  13. I'm hoping the future will hold a few bestsellers for me. I really think everyone would benefit from this. Who doesn't love a benevolent dictator?

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  14. I'll be interested to see what happens with e-readers. I do think that middle graders will be using them regularly soon. It means more ebook sales, but I hope it doesn't mean the end of print books. That would break my heart.

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  15. @Kelly I don't think print will go away, but it may end up being more of a pricey collector's item. Like vinyl.

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  16. Hi Susan .. reading a post today on Universities getting their text books via readers .. edigitalising university will definitely open up the rest of the world ..

    I can see it coming very quickly - not sure what I think of it though!!

    Books will still be around for a while though .. there'll be two societies .. those with ereaders, and those who don't and won't .. a generation to completely change ..

    The internet is taking that long - with people who don't know and don't have ..

    Cheers - Hilary

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  17. @Hilary Tech in the schools can definitely be tricky - you've got to reach across a spectrum of ages and technology comfort levels (and that's just the teachers) and then find a way to enhance curriculum. But I believe it can be done. More importantly, it must be done.

    As for a tech divide, I think it's less than people assume (I know in my district we have 95% access to the internet, while having 30% poverty. Something is changing, when even the disadvantaged have access.) I also think cell phones/e-readers/other portable devices could be the tech that bridges the divide. We'll see!

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  18. I love my Kindle, but I still also enjoy the feel of books in my hand. I asked some college kids if they were using eBooks in their course work, but none of them were. I was interested to hear all of them say that while they liked the IDEA of the E-Revolution, they preferred "real" books!

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  19. Here's my thinking as a teacher -- I want kids to read. Anything. Any way. Period.

    I count cereal boxes if I have to - and for my migrant students that was often all they had in their house to read.

    Adults can debate about the merits of either but it doesn't matter our preferences -- which we all have. What matters is that we need to get books in the hands of young readers. More reading, more time reading = better readers & a better world.

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  20. and also - Susan, I love your post and the questions it raises, my comment was written in response to the comments.

    Sorry for the soapbox.

    P.S. I love how middle grade books are really amazing these days!!

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  21. and also - Susan, I love your post and the questions it raises, my comment was written in response to the comments.

    Sorry for the soapbox.

    P.S. I love how middle grade books are really amazing these days!!

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  22. My son did all his summer reading on a kindle. The school where I teach (private) is pushing iPads and many other schools are switching from laptops to ipads. My daughter has a color nook, but will be using her iPod Touch for dictation at school.

    It's all changing, especially the rules of how to publish!

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  23. @Joyce Wow! You guys are rockin' the move into the new tech. You didn't say the ages of your kids, but they sound like Jr. High/High School, which I think is perfect (even at the younger grades I see a lot of potential for the tech in classrooms). Thanks for stopping by!

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  24. I heard two kids in my 5th grade class arguing which was better the Kindle or the color Nook. Wow.

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  25. @Leslie Holy cats, that's cool. It's amazing how quickly they pick up on stuff!

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Erudite comments from thoughtful readers